The scene of a small plane crash on Gabriola Island, B.C., is shown on Wednesday, Dec. 11. A plane that one witness describes as crashing in a “huge explosion” that left multiple people dead in British Columbia has been identified as a twin-engine propeller aircraft. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paolo Gastaldello

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

Investigators from multiple agencies are working to determine what happened and identify the victims in a fatal plane crash on Gabriola Island last night.

B.C. Coroners Service and the Transportation Safety Board investigators arrived on scene Wednesday to begin their investigation into a plane crash that in a wooded residential area on the northwest corner of Gabriola Island at about 6 p.m. Dec. 10.

The Transportation Safety Board said in a press release issued Wednesday that it deployed a team of investigators to the scene of a “piston twin-engine” aircraft, which according to media reports was a Piper Aerostar.

READ MORE: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash

Few details are known about the crash, but the B.C. Coroners Service said in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon that the debris field was “significant” and that it is working with the TSB and Gabriola Island RCMP to determine the identities of the victims.

“Confirmation of the number of deceased and their identities will occur once identification has been definitively established and their family members have been notified. This process may take several days,” the release noted.

The coroner previously reported multiple fatalities and a marine search and rescue spokesman said in a statement to media that there were “apparently three persons” on the plane.

In an e-mail to the News Bulletin, Andy Watson, communications manager with the B.C. Coroners Service, declined to confirm whether one of the victims onboard was Alex Bahlsen, who, according to various media reports was a pilot and former employee with the TSB. The Bomber Command Museum of Canada, in a Facebook post, said it is “remembering Alex Bahlsen today” after partnering with him to host flying events in the past.

Dan Clarke is leading the TSB’s investigation.

READ MORE: ‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
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The Bomber Command Museum of Canada said in a social media post that it is remembering Alex Bahlsen today after partnering with him in the past to host flying events. (Facebook photo)

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